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Rio Tinto, USGS partner to survey for critical minerals in Southwest Montana

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(Kitco News) - A new partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the science agency for the U.S. Department of the Interior, and Rio Tinto, a leading mining and metals company, was announced today.

According to a statement, this partnership will provide a clearer picture of the potential for critical mineral resources beneath the Continental Divide near Montana's Boulder Batholith.

The USGS will fly airborne geophysical surveys in areas of interest with support from Rio Tinto during 2022 as part of its Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI).

This is the first time the USGS has partnered with a resources company for the Earth MRI program, allowing it to double the area being surveyed in Southwest Montana.

Rio Tinto Exploration Director Chris Welton said, "Our partnership with USGS will deliver high quality data on potential mineral resources through its cutting-edge Earth MRI program. By working together, we are sharing expertise, resources and knowledge to make the search for critical minerals more efficient."

Recent studies by the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative have identified the Boulder Batholith region as having conditions that look favorable for hosting several critical mineral resources, such as rare earth elements, tellurium, tin, tungsten as well as copper, molybdenum, and gold.

Data collected through this partnership will be made publicly available through the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative website.

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